Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 27, 2009

On June 27th all of the student members went to Balboa Elementary in San Diego for the majority of the day. We left early, and to wake ourselves up some students played games and talked with new people. The atmosphere was energetic for being so early. Once everyone was divided into their job groups for the day like painting, fixing the library, cleaning, and working on the teaching lounge, we were off!

Everyone was ready to make a difference that day. Even though it was hot we had amazing water boys keeping everyone hydrated, and were even given delicious popsicles. We were even served a Mexican lunch that was all home made. I met so many wonderful people from all over the country that I knew I will not forget. People, including retirees, Target volunteers, and local families, came to help. Everyone was working hard with a big smile on their face. I only wish I would have been able to see the students' faces when they tour their new school.

Towards the end of the day, when people were starting to finish up, people were on the four square courts and playing. The group went from eight people to about thirty. It was fun to see future teachers who worked all day be able to come together and still be able to play. The elementary staff was very grateful to have us and took many pictures. I am proud to say that the NEA organized this daily activity extremely well and had great success.

After we all bused back to the hotel everyone went swimming together in the pool. It was nice to relax with everyone and actually get to talk together about homes. We all realized that even though we lived thousands of miles away from each other, we were all very alike. Later for dinner, we were fortunate to have an inspiring man, Dr. Mark, speak to us about his school experiences. He told us to be a “why not” teacher, and do not be afraid to let the students do things on their own. He left us with an assignment to follow: 1. Show appreciation to a loved one unexpectedly, 2. Show appreciation to a teacher, and 3. Show appreciation to a stranger. I can not wait to go home and do these because I know doing the littlest things make a positive difference in people's daily lives. Even though the day was very long, I learned a lot and felt like I improved many lives in just one day. I am grateful to be given this opportunity to help and meet wonderful people.

Abbey Karth
Student Delegate
Winona State University, MN

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